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Justice O’Connor counters call for “representative” judges

Timothy Kincaid

September 8th, 2010

Following the unanimous decision by the Iowa Supreme Court to protect the equality of gay Iowans, anti-gay activists wailed about “activist” judges and called to replace them with judges who could be reflective of the whim of the majority. Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor attended a forum to oppose that idea. (KETV)

Last month, Republican Bob Vander Plaats started a campaign to unseat three Iowa Supreme Court justices up for reelection.

The move started a debate over whether judges should be elected by popular vote.

O’Connor only spoke for about 10 minutes, but she was emphatic in her belief that appointing judges on a merit-based system as we do in Iowa is a much better option than voting for judges in a political election.

This effort by O’Connor may be seen by Iowans as an indictment of the effort to recall the three judges and a rejection of the current trend of calling every unpopular decision “judicial activism”. Justice O’Connor is a centrist who continues to hold the respect of a broad swath of middle-Americans.



September 8th, 2010 | LINK

And it’s calming to know we have such rational minds in the world. Fair winds to you, Justice O’Conner.

Richard W. Fitch
September 8th, 2010 | LINK

Please clarify: one sentence says three Iowa judges are up for re-election; elsewhere it says they are appointed on a merit system. Is there a contradiction or am I missing something?

Timothy Kincaid
September 8th, 2010 | LINK

Sorry, Richard,

I could have been clearer. The governor appoints the jurists by selecting from a list of potential jurists who have been vetted by a State Judicial Nominating Committee. Then periodically they are brought up for a confirming vote of the people.

These three justices are up for their confirmation vote.

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